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Central America

Volume 86: debated on Tuesday 12 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the recently agreed 40 million European currency units aid co-operation agreement with central American countries; what criteria will be used in deciding on its allocation with central America; and what role is envisaged for the voluntary agencies in distributing the aid.

Foreign Ministers of the European Community and the central American countries met in Luxembourg on 11–12 November to sign an agreement strengthening the economic links between the two regions. A copy of the draft agreement was deposited with the Scrutiny Committee on 7 November and a copy is available in the Library of the House of Commons.The draft agreement covers a range of subjects including trade, investment and economic co-operation. No sum is specified for the aid element, but an annex to the draft agreement proposes a substantial increase.At the meeting the Community, Spain and Portugal confirmed their intention to give assistance to projects of regional importance on the basis of priorities and objectives identified by common agreement.

No new role is specified for the voluntary agencies in this agreement. The Community has, however, a programme of development assistance channelled through voluntary agencies, a number of which are working in the central American region.